Our Canadian Immigration Journey; How We Did It

When we started our investigation about how Canadian Immigration works, we began by looking for information on the Internet. I visited several forums and message boards to ask questions to forum members living in Canada, and we also visited several Canadian Immigration Web sites.

I would suggest the Yahoo! Answers boards today as the best place to ask questions, but the forum I used almost four years ago was mainly the eBay forum, since I was an avid eBayer back then. I met many friendly Canadians willing to answer my questions, who even sympathized with our situation (part 1 of the journey).

One such an eBayer was a person whom I quickly became friends with. He was there to encourage me; to point me into the right direction if he knew something; to sympathize with me if things were taking a frustrating turn, etc. He became a true friend, and he didn't even know me. Because of him and others on eBay I knew I was going to love living in Canada! :)

He once sent me two medium-sized Canadian flags which I hung on my bedroom wall so that we could see it first thing in the morning as we woke up and last thing before we would fall asleep. We used it to focus on Canada and to visualize that we would soon arrive in Canada as Permanent Residents. Visualizing certainly helps, so get some Canadian souvenirs (preferably a flag) to help you with this. To take it another step further, it would be good to memorize the Canadian anthem. Get to know some facts about Canada too.


Canada Flag and Map

From the Canadian Immigration Web sites I learned about the point-system. From the official Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Web site I learned about the Provincial Nominee programs. We quickly discovered that by applying through these programs it would be easier and quicker to come to Canada (June 2011 article; also a great website for people wanting to move to Canada or newcomers to Canada), because this system works better for skilled workers than the Federal Government system.

However, it was very important to get a job offer first, before we could get nominated by any province. We learned that the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) was the easiest one of all. That meant we needed a job offer from Saskatchewan. Since living here I learnt about a company that helps bring skilled workers, mostly from Russia and Germany, to Saskatchewan and Manitoba under their nominee programs. At the moment Saskatchewan is a thriving province and is looking for people to fill jobs.

My husband fell under the skilled worker category, as he holds a Refrigeration and HVAC certificate. That helped him get a job offer from a Saskatoon company, and luckily they were willing to go through the paperwork required on their part to get us over here. It's not as much paperwork as what the applicant for Canadian Immigration has to go through, but nevertheless it's a little extra work for the employer looking to hire a foreigner. Most companies would rather keep looking to hire a Canadian, so it is very important that your skills are required here and are in short supply, otherwise it will become difficult to find a job.

After getting the job offer, things started rolling. We were corresponding with the SINP and following their instructions, such as getting police background checks, FBI fingerprints, sending copies of my husband's licenses, certificates, resume and previous employers reference letters, proof of sufficient funds to support our family during the first few months in Canada, etc.

Lots of paperwork to do, but we did it, and we didn't even need a lawyer really. For a few immigration questions we had, we did contact a Canadian Immigration attorney. Most of the immigration attorneys provide a free assessment on their Web site and a free initial telephone consultation.    

The process started in March after my husband got the job offer, and with all the work involved on both the employer's part and our part, as well as on the part of SINP, it took several months, until we finally received the invitation to our interview with the Canadian Immigration office representing Suriname (the country we are citizens of). The Canadian High Commission is located in Trinidad.  

We left the States in December 2005 to go to Trinidad for our interview. It went pretty well, though we were nervous. However, after all the paperwork we had gone through, we expected to hear an answer right away. To our disappointment we learned that we still had to take care of some more procedures such as: getting a full physical exam by a doctor in our country appointed by the Canadian Immigration office; the FBI fingerprints had to be redone, as we had sent the previous ones to the wrong immigration department; we also needed a police background check from Suriname, since we had left it as adults.

So after the interview we went to our country to take care of the remaining things we needed to do. Then, after that was taken care of, it was just a waiting game... at times quite nerve-wrecking.
 
Of course the whole process cost us quite a bit of money, as is the case with most immigration processes, I assume. At least we spared ourselves the added cost of an immigration lawyer, thanks to the very informative Citizenship and Immigration Canada Web site. It's the official Canadian Immigration Web site and you'll find loads of immigration information here.

On top of what we spent on the whole Canadian Immigration process, we also needed to have at least $10,000 CDN with us upon arrival in Canada, as we would have to prove that we could support ourselves (a family of four) during the first few months in Canada.

It took five months since the day of the interview before we finally received the long awaited package that held our passports with the answer of the Canadian Immigration office. We were excited, but also very nervous to find out what the answer was going to be. Although we knew we had done everything that was required from us, there was still this little doubt in our minds that our immigration application may not have been approved, because of our deportation from the USA.

Imagine our immense relief when we opened our passports and saw it stamped with a permanent resident visa!! We couldn't stop smiling for the rest of our stay in Suriname! :) Two weeks later we prepared to leave, on our way to a new life in Canada... and arrived here just a little under three years ago. Soon we will be eligible to apply for our Canadian citizenship. We can hardly wait! :)

In all it took about one whole year from the beginning of the Canadian Immigration process to finally receiving the passports. This is considered fairly quick for people coming from countries of the western hemisphere (under which Suriname falls). We think that it's due to us spending fifteen years in the US and then getting deported, which totally disrupted our lives, and that may have placed us in a bit of an urgent situation. Check out processing times for your country and in your category here.

Click here for another official Canadian Immigration Web site with tons of information. Good luck on your journey if you're also heading down the Canadian Immigration path.

Thank you Canada, for welcoming us! We will forever be grateful. :)

Go to:
Living in Canada
Road to Canada Part 1
Road to Canada Part 2
Canadian Citizenship

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